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Inbox: An endless amount of gratitude comes with that

What an incredible time period to watch Green Bay Packers football

QB Aaron Rodgers
QB Aaron Rodgers

Glen from Leesburg, VA

I was reading Cliff Christl's column regarding the Packers and their GM decisions with Dan Devine, Bart Starr and Forrest Gregg. It really made me appreciate how good we've had it for the past 30 years. I grew up watching the Packers during the '70s and '80s, and as a kid, there were some painful Sundays in tears watching them play so horribly. The gratitude I have for the Brett Favre and Aaron Rodgers years cannot be overstated. Enjoy the greatness as glory is fleeting.

When Rodgers was under center, I can probably count on one hand the number of times I walked into an NFL stadium over the past 10 years and thought, "The Packers might get it handed to them today." And I was probably wrong on half those assumptions. It has been one heck of a ride.

Bruce from Bloomington, IL

While the deal isn't done yet, it seems a fitting time to put a milepost down as the Rodgers era is set to end. The past 30 years saw Favre and Rodgers carry the Packers franchise to the ALL-TIME win lead in NFL history. The gap they closed on the Bears was incredible. The gap now sits at four (best as I can tell). I don't even want to write the words down much less say them out loud. Y'all know where this is going.

If this is it for the Packers-Rodgers partnership, you're right that it's fitting AR12 helped Green Bay pull ahead of the Bears for NFL all-time wins during his final season with the Packers. Green Bay has won 314 regular-season games since 1992. That's nearly 40% of the franchise's all-time victories in 104 years. Chicago has 225 wins over that same span. For 30 years, we have witnessed greatness firsthand, and an endless amount of gratitude comes with that.

Doug from Neenah, WI

Good morning, Wes. It seems like there are fewer "sign everybody" Inbox submissions during this year's free agency period. Has the fanbase caught on that there is no salary cap space left or are the editors not letting those suggestions see the light of day? Thanks.

There are definitely fewer of those "Sign Player X" submissions this year. While I'd like to think that's because of rationality, my guess is it has more to do with this not being a strong free-agent class. There aren't as many household names hitting the market this year, with all due respect to Javon Hargrove, Jawaan Taylor and Mike McGlinchey.

Fanch from Fouesnant, France

Aaron Jones seems to be a real good guy with good vibes, can you explain why?

Some people were put on this earth to remind us how lucky we are to be alive. Aaron Jones also happens to be a really, really good football player.

Dave from Lake Mills, WI

What happens if the trade doesn't happen before the draft? With the Jets sitting at the No. 13, it's possible one of the top QBs drops, and the Jets decide to take him. That is not out of the realm of possibility. Thoughts?

I get the concern, but can we stop acting like the Packers are trying to deal Mike Spofford to the Jets for two mules and a crate of hard tack? We're talking about one of the greatest players in NFL history who's one year removed from winning MVP. The Jets believe they can win with Aaron Rodgers as their quarterback next season – and I believe them. We've come this far. I see no reason for New York to back off its pursuit now and draft a rookie QB who may or may not be able to help them during a critical season for Robert Saleh and Joe Douglas.

Brad from Fort Myers, FL

We know the Jets will be playing in a lot of nationally televised primetime games this year with Rodgers under center. Green Bay has also been heavily featured in such games in recent years, but do you think they get a few less this season with Jordan Love at QB? Or is the brand and intrigue of a new arm slinging passes enough to keep them firmly in the national spotlight?

I don't know if it'll be the usual max (five), but the Packers will still receive a fair amount, especially early in the year when there's going to be a lot of intrigue with Jordan Love. Green Bay is still one of the NFL's most recognizable brands. NBC and ESPN want to capitalize on that.

Johnny from Salt Lake City, UT

Wes, you have a choice to plug Jordan Love into the 2023 Packers offense, or the 2008 Packers offense. Which do you choose? Which offense was best set up for success with a new QB?

Totally different teams. This Packers team is trending young on offense and experienced on defense, whereas the 2008 squad was the opposite. I'd say 2008 gets the immediate edge because of the presence of Greg Jennings and Donald Driver at receiver, Chad Clifton, Scott Wells, a rookie Josh Sitton and Mark Tauscher on the offensive line, and Ryan Grant in the backfield. However, in the long run, the upside of today's unit is much higher.

Paul from Nevada City, CA

Regarding Keisean Nixon, I concur. Let him play slot if best candidate. But doesn't having him on the field before returning KOs or punts gives him a better perspective, current speed, and vision than someone cold off the bench? Assume he is smart enough (otherwise why is he a Packer) to pull himself out when his energy is lagging. He just wants to PLAY! I fully trust in an athlete's ethos until shown otherwise.

For sure…and Nixon is the type of player who seems to get better the more he's involved in the game. To the previous question on Friday, I saw no letup in his return ability after Nixon started playing more nickel snaps. Playing both phases will only make Nixon that much more dynamic.

Ross from Summerville, SC

Gents, every GM has his hit and misses in the draft. In my opinion Brian Gutekunst has a higher batting average than most, especially the Brewers on MLB Opening Day. Does it still stand to reason he will be judged more on the progression of Jordan Love over the few years?

That likely will be the case because of the magnitude of the selection, but this is what GMs and personnel people do. They find the best prospects they can to improve their football team. As much consternation as there was about trading up to draft Love in 2020, the kid had a first-round pedigree. Now, we get to open that door and see what's behind that potential.

Gretchen from Dousman, WI

Good morning II. I was completely blown away by the fact that one of our forum readers – and now a submitter- actually watched Clarke Hinkle play! How wonderful to have him with us. What stories he could tell!

There also was a 93-year-old gentleman who wrote in last year (and then sent me a very nice handwritten letter afterwards). His name escapes me at the moment, but he recalled watching Cecil Isbell and Don Hutson play in the early 1940s. What an incredible time period to witness Packers football.

Dar from Mansfield, TX

According to my research, which could be wrong, Wausau native and Hall of Fame center Jim Otto wore "00" when he played for the Raiders. At some point that then became illegal. I believe the double zeros were a nod to his palindrome last name. So, Jeffrey from Taylors was definitely not a zero with his question.

Absolutely. This time around, however, only a single zero is permitted.

David from Cable, WI

We can have "0" but not "00?" And no mention of Jim Otto born and raised and played high school football in WAUSAU, WISCONSIN? This must be what happens when Spoff leaves and lets the kid run the Inbox. Makeup test: Some of Otto's football cards show him with the No. 50. Find the reason for this. You can use Cliff as a resource.

Hey, don't slap the messenger. Otto was originally issued No. 50 but switched to "00" in 1960 for the reason Dar outlined. The AFL allowed Otto – and Otto only – to wear double zero as a marketing tool. Considering we're still talking about it 60 years later, the strategy obviously worked.

Doug from Odell, IL

With Rodgers gone, do you think the Packers should pick up a veteran QB to be backup for Love?

I'd lean towards the draft and look to develop another young QB, but both Gutekunst and Matt LaFleur seem open to the idea of bringing in a veteran if the right fit is available.

Andy from Kentwood, MI

Did Love cross paths with Devante Mays at Utah St? From my limited research it shows Jordan was there 2016-2019, while Devante was drafted in April of 2017.

One season, but the two didn't play in a game together. Love redshirted during Mays' senior year in 2016.

Rob from Spring Lake, NJ

My son and I were among the few Packers fans to see Rodgers' first real action live. We went to Baltimore for a very cold MNF game. End of the third quarter, the Pack was losing 34-3 so Rodgers plays the entire fourth. On the first play, No. 12 loses a fumble and Ravens then go into score. The stadium was virtually empty, with only a few 100 Packer fans braving the cold. During that fourth quarter, Rodgers goes 8-of-15 for a whopping 65 yards and an INT (sacked three times). With 25 seconds left in the game, Rodgers fumbles again; recovered/run in for a Ravens TD. Final 48-3. We left feeling that Rodgers was a draft bust. Obviously our first impression was wrong, so how about we give Jordan Love a bit of time to prove his first-round worth?

You win or you learn in this sport – and there undoubtedly will be moments that test the character of Love and this football team. But always remember another game and another opportunity is only seven days away…or four…or five…or six.

Mark from Madison, WI

To all those that say we should have gotten rid of AR12 last year, gotten a huge haul and think we would have been better off: I wish to remind them Love did not appear ready last year, and without Rodgers, we would not have the QB coach that sped up his readiness. I say the Pack knows what they are doing.

I find the "Why didn't the Packers trade Rodgers last year?" questions ludicrous. No NFL team has ever traded or released a reigning league MVP, let alone the longest-tenured player in team history who won the award in back-to-back seasons.

Jeff from Littlefork, MN

There has been a lot of talk of signing a veteran WR for the locker-room presence. I hear Randall Cobb is a FA. He's a high-character guy, been around forever, seems to be a perfect fit for Green Bay. Has he already contributed all he can to the next generation of young Packers receivers? Is the answer just too obvious?

Cobb is great, and I still think he can play at a high level. But if Cobb wants to play in 2023 – which reportedly he does – I assumed it would be wherever Aaron Rodgers suits up. But as always, I'll never say never until a deal is done.

Derek from Eau Claire, WI

To save time and improve accuracy, Spoff might want to narrow his Prospect Primer series to Georgia defensive players.

That program has been a prospect powerhouse for the Packers' personnel people.

Wayne from Stevens Point, WI

II is killing me. First it was the Frank Patrick story, now it is being beat by the Saints. Here is my question: Is it true that the expansion teams NO and Tampa Bay both got their first wins against the Packers? That is what my memory tells me. I was so distraught after both losses. Yes, the 'good old days'. Thank goodness Magic came along, then Favre, then Rodgers, and hopefully Love.

That is not true. New Orleans notched its first win against Philadelphia during its expansion season in 1967, while the Buccaneers got their first victory over the Saints, 33-14, on Dec. 11, 1977. It was Tampa Bay's first win in 27 regular-season games. The Buccaneers beat the Packers for the first time on Sept. 16, 1979 (21-10), while the Saints earned their first W over Green Bay on Nov. 28, 1971 (29-21).

Scotty from Lombard, IL

This year, I have a special birthday ending in a 0. My wife wants to buy me something from the Packers. I suggested a jersey with HODSPOFF for the name, and "88" as the number. What do you think?

Haha, I appreciate the sentiment but save your money, Scotty…and possibly your marriage.

Jim from Grafton, WI

I, too, hail from Grafton, WI. So, we have our four horsemen, which is nice. Look out II!

All yours, Spofford. I'll be back in a few. Have a terrific weekend, everyone.

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